Python and COS 125 Introduction to Problem Solving Using Computer Programming

The University of Maine – UMaine News – Computer Game Writers Receive $3,000 Jackson Lab ContractMost of the course specific material such as Homework Assignments, Syllabus and other details are available on Blackboard. Of more interest to most people would be some of the books that we have been using. Both of the books below are free PDF files that you can download by clicking on the links. I will be revising the course extensively over the summer of 2012 and will have more material available here in Fall 2012.

  1. Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python 2.x (PDF) by Al Sweigart, edited by George Markowsky. I merged the First Edition (based on Python 2.x) and the Second Edition (based on Python 3.x) into a single version that works for Python 2.x. The main reason for doing this is that Pygame does not work for Mac Python 3.x. This book provides an introduction to Python and writing games. It does not use object oriented programming and I don’t like its programming style. Nevertheless, there is much of value in it.
  2. Think Python (PDF) by Allen Downey. This is a concise textbook on Python that covers many features not covered by the Sweigart book. It contains some interesting exercises.
  3. Dive Into Python (PDF) by Mark Pilgrim. This book is a more advanced introduction to Python and covers such topics as Web Development and Software Engineering.
  4. Making Games with Python & Pygame (PDF) by Al Sweigart. This book is an intermediate level book on Python and uses the Pygame library for creating additional computer games. Contains some interesting games explained in detail along with detailed information about the Pygame package.

COS 125 has been on the local TV news several times. Twice Jackson Laboratory awarded teams from COS 125 $3,000 contracts to write video games to help illustrate biological concepts. These video games were distributed without charge to high schools in Maine and in other states. Here are three news videos and a press release about one of the Jackson Laboratory contracts.  The video clips illustrate the game exhibition at the end of the semester.

COS 125 Game Competition Fall 2010

Fall 2010 – UMaine News – Computer Game Writers Receive $3,000 Jackson Lab Contract

UMaine Students Develop Original Video Games – Local News – Fox Bangor – WVII ABC 7 — Fall 2012

Students Get Competitve in Orono at UMaine Expo – WABI TV5 — Fall 2012